Bregenz Festival Guide: An experience you can't miss [2023]

Updated on:  
December 7, 2022
Reading Time:  
Whether your trip to Austria fortuitously lands on the same week as Bregenzer Festival, or you’re planning the journey specifically for it, discover everything you need to know about this unique festival right here.

Occurring every summer from July to August since 1946, the Bregenz Festival has made its mark on its home city and the country of Austria! One of the longest-running local festivals, it was first held one year after the end of WWII. 

When you visit, you can expect to be one of approximately 200,000 people making the trip to Bregenz Festspiele. So you don't have to take my word for it being a popular and unmissable event!

That being said, before I talk about how to get there and you get started on planning your itinerary, do boot up these top travel planning apps to help you out!

What Is the Bregenzer Festival?

So what is the Bregenz Festival, or Bregenz Festspiele, if we're keeping to the correct language of the host? It's a unique festival hosted in Bregenz, Austria, with opera and classical performing arts at its core. Expect the theatrical, classic productions and music typical of this old-world region.

The Festival de Bregenz boasts five venues, the main event being its floating stage, also known as the Seebühne Bregenz. I'll talk a little more about this landmark later on since it's a focal point of the whole festival. Make sure you stick around for that!

location of the bregenz festival
Image Courtesy of Landespolizeikommando Vorarlberg on WikiCommons

Why Go to the Bregenz Austria Festival?

It's a Piece of History Carried Through Time

If it wasn't for the Bregenz Festival, it's said that the culture surrounding the city of Bregenz itself wouldn't exist today. The festival brings in a considerable audience year after year, and for a good reason! Bregenz truly is a piece of history carried through time ever since the birth of its iconic floating stage. 

The Seebühne Bregenz sits on Lake Constance. Initially, two stages were created from floating barges. Nowadays, the two have been replaced by concrete cores, creating a space for the performer's dressing rooms, machine rooms, and more. Its resident orchestra, the Wiener Symphoniker, is another crucial event component, topping off this iconic festival. 

You Can Patronize an Array of Venues

Bregenzer Festspiele boasts various venues, making it a very diverse festival that you can take your time to explore.

The main Bregenz Festival venues include:

  • The Seebühne Bregenz/the floating stages: Theatrical performances and productions are staged here.
  • The Festspielhaus/the opera house: Where the opera and concerts are staged.
  • The Werkstattbühne/the stage theatre: Expect to view contemporary theater here.
  • The Theater am Kornmarkt: This venue runs operetta and drama performances.
  • The Theater Kosmos: Discover drama and cross-cultural performances here.

As you can see, the venues all stage their own unique pockets of performing arts. So, visiting every event is sure to make for a memorable experience.

map of Bregenzer Festspiele location venue
Image Courtesy of Bregenz Festspiele

What Do You Need to Bring Along with You to the Bregenz Festival?

Bregenz isn't the sort of contemporary party festival like Sziget or Ultra Europe that you may be used to attending. Luckily, this means that there isn't a lot you need to take along with you. To start, you won't be camping, but you'll spend a reasonable amount of time outdoors.

With that in mind, you're going to want your typical essentials for a long day outdoors, such as:

Essentials such as those listed above are typically a given. But also familiarize yourself with what not to take to Bregenzer Festspiele since its management is pretty clear about these forbidden items.

Image Courtesy of 

Things that you're not allowed to bring in include:

  • Outside food, snacks, and drinks
  • Glass bottles, thermos flasks, cups, mugs, and cans
  • Professional photography, video, and sound recording equipment
  • Selfie sticks, laser pointers, laptops, and tablets
  • Though, mobile phones and pagers are allowed, as long as they are switched off
  • Suitcases, trolleys, bicycles, helmets, umbrellas, child seats, and booster seats
  • Any other overly bulky items, as there are no storage lockers or spaces on-site
  • Knives and any other dangerous items defined under the Austrian Weapons Act
  • Animals or pets, except certified assistance dogs (must notify the festival prior)

The bottom line is that you should be sure to visit the festival with a small bag. A small bag is incredibly convenient when you compare it to the typical camping weekend festival essentials!

How to Get To Bregenzer Festspiele

Getting to Bregenzer Festival is fairly easy. The two most popular ways to arrive at the location are by private or hired car or public transport. Both options are equally viable and convenient, resulting in an uncomplicated journey.

Traveling to Bregenz by Car

If you're traveling by car, there are several car parks in, near, and around Bregenz you can park at. You can reference the handy map below provided by the festival to find their location. 

The Festspielhaus and Seebühne Bregenz are just a short walk away from these marked spots, so driving is a good option, if possible. Nonetheless, there are also convenient public transport connections for you to use should you not have a car available.

People on subway in Austria
Image Courtesy of Justin Hamilton on Pexels

Arriving at Bregenz by Public Transport

If you're using public transport, there's good news! You'll likely find a "vmobil" imprint on your event ticket, meaning you can use it to access the Vorarlberg public transport network. This network includes train and bus services on the day(s) of the festival to get there and back.

Getting to the Bregenze Festival using public transportation is easy if you're already in the city. But if you're traveling from further out, you can also use apps and sites such as Omio to pre-book and plan your train journeys to Bregenz city, then get to the festival from there. And even book your hotels, too! 

Simple, right, so what comes next?

How Much Are Bregenzer Festspiele Tickets?

Ready to go to the Bregenz Austria opera to discover its wonders? You're probably wondering how much a ticket will set you back! 

Overall, Bregenz tickets are on the pricier side, especially since the city is expensive and you're visiting a festival dedicated to the classical performing arts. 

That said, the ticket price range differs dramatically per seat type, performance, and venue. There are affordable ticket options available, especially at non-Seebühne Bregenz venues. Expect to pay around US$15-US$50 per ticket if you're looking at the lower end of the price rainge!

Below, you can gauge the average cost for tickets for the famous floating stages:

  • Individual concerts, operas, and performances: Under US$50
  • Category 5-7: Under US$50
  • Category 1-4:  Under US$100
  • Category 1plus:  Approx. US$195
  • Premium:  Approx. US$315
  • Lounge:  Approx. US$415

Free entry to some events and various discounts are also available. However, you have to book directly by phoning Bregenz to buy tickets with a discount. The disabled and students are particularly well-accommodated.

While there are some pricey ticket brackets, they're worth every penny to some. For example, some of 2023's most expensive tickets are already sold out for the Madame Butterfly Saturday-night premiere! 

So, book in advance to secure your spot if you're planning a trip to Austria. If you just want to view the famous floating stage, you can also just take a Bregenz tour by day.

Venue at bregenz festival
Image Courtesy of Vorarlberg.Travel

What Should You Expect to See at Bregenzer Festspiele 2023?

The star of the 2023 Bregenzer Festival is Giacomo Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. This opera tells the story of a Japanese geisha, Cio-Cio-San, called Butterfly, who marries an American Lieutenant called Pinkerton. 

However, when a ship takes the lieutenant home to the USA, he remarries. Butterfly waits and longs for his return with their child. As the story unfolds further, this dramatic rendition is sure to pull at your heartstrings.

You can also expect these highly-anticipated performances at the other Bregenz Festival venues:

  • Ernani
  • The Bound Imagination
  • Wiener Symphoniker
  • Symphonieorchester Vorarlberg

Finally, look for the Opera Atelier, a collaborative performance created by both the Bregenz Festival and the Kunsthaus Bregenz. A really unique twist on your typical performance art, you can watch the creation of an opera over a period of time. It's a real, raw, and interesting look at what usually happens behind closed doors.

Wait, So When Do the Tickets Come Out for 2023?

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Yes, you're right; tickets for Bregenz 2023 are already on sale! So waste no time, head over to their ticketing site here and pick the best seats in the house before they're gone… and start planning today!

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Published on:  
December 5, 2022

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